Are Cowboy Boots Bad for Your Knees?

Cowboy boots are wonderful footwear known for its safety, flexibility, comfort, durability with eye-catching appearance.

With a history of more than two centuries, cowboy boots are growing and asserting their class on the market.

However, besides the compliments, there are also complaints about cowboy boots. One of the users’ concerns is knee pain: “I have knee pain when I wear cowboy boots”, “Are cowboy boots bad for your knees? “…

How to handle knee pain when wearing cowboy boots?

Let’s find out the answers with us!

Are Cowboy Boots Bad for Your Knees?

Foot health is always the paramount issue no matter what types of footwear you’re using.

The answer is: cowboy boots can hurt your knees and the pain level depends on the height of the heels and arch support of each cowboy boot.

The fact is: with every 1 inch higher of the heel of a boot (here is a cowboy boot), your knee is subjected to 23% more compression pressure.

The heels of cowboy boots come in different heights. We divide them into three categories: high heels, standard heels and low heels.

For standard and low-heeled cowboy boots, the heel height is between 1 inch and 1.5 inches. This is the ideal height to keep your knees completely stable and not cause any pain.

Cowboy boot with standard heel

If your cowboy boot heels have a standard height or lower but you still feel knee pain when wearing them, the cause is probably not your cowboy boots. In this case, you need to see a doctor to find out the problem.

The heels of cowboy boots between 1 inch and 1.5 inches tall are often called walking heels or roper heels. These heels are common in western work boots, roper boots, stockman boots… These are cowboy boots that support your feet very well when you walk and move.

For example, western work boots have walking heels and good arch support. This is the most comfortable cowboy boots for you to do outdoor activities or work in a ranch and farm.

If your cowboy boots have heels 2 inches or more in height, there is a chance that they could hurt your knees if you use them incorrectly.

As we mentioned above, with every inch of the heel, your knee will suffer 23% more compression pressure, which is not good for your knee.

Cowboy boots with standard 1.5-inch heels won’t harm your knees, but heels with 2 inches or more can affect your knees.

Cowboy boot with high heel

Notably, fashion heels or spiked heels have a height of over 2.75 inches. You should consider when using cowboy boots with these high heels.

Wearing cowboy boots with heels higher than 2.75 inches regularly will increase pressure on the knees and heels. In the long term, this will erode the knee joint, damage joint cartilage and lead to arthritis (the erosion of cartilage between bones, causing bones to rub together).

Besides fashion heels or spiked heels, there are quite a few cowboy boots with heels higher than 2.75 inches.

How to avoid knee pain when wearing high heeled cowboy boots?

The answer is that you should stop wearing cowboy boots until the pain in your knees is gone. Remember to use cowboy boots exactly the way they are meant to serve.

Usually, people like to wear cowboy boots with high heels because these boots give the wearer the confidence and arrogance of a real cowboy. Besides, traditional cowboy boots have high heels to help them balance and stabilize on the saddle.

This means that cowboys don’t really walk much (they were on horseback), so traditional cowboy boots (high heels) actually don’t give walkers the best support.

If you plan to wear cowboy boots for walking, heavy work, outdoor activities (picnic, mountain climbing …), you should choose cowboy boots with walking heels (about 1.5 inch high heels) to have the best support.

If you drive a lot, or wear cowboy boots for fashion or don’t plan on wearing cowboy boots all day long, then you can opt for high heeled cowboy boots.

Not only cowboy boots, you should also avoid using high heel shoes to work on the ranch since they can affect your leg health.

So use the right cowboy boots for the right purposes, they won’t hurt your knees.

Read more: Are Cowboy Boots Bad For Your Feet?

Some notes

  • You should not wear cowboy boots with high heels continuously for a long time (especially with heels higher than 2.75 inches)
  • Consider carefully when using cowboy boots with heels higher than 2.75 inches
  • Choose the right size of cowboy boots for your feet. This is important, we have a very thorough size guide here!
  • When removing a high heeled cowboy boot, you should use your hands to massage the entire soles of the feet to improve blood circulation. Soaking your feet in warm water for 20-30 minutes is also a good help.
  • Change your exercise routine: reduce regular stress in your knees, hips, and back during exercises
  • Using extra insoles may reduce the negative impact on the knees


In short, you should be cautious about using high heeled cowboy boots, which can adversely affect your knees when used continuously for long periods of time, especially cowboy boots with a heel higher than 2.75 ”

You should determine your needs to choose the right cowboy boots. Besides, remember to choose the right size cowboy boots to fit your feet.

Massage the soles to allow blood circulation, exercise to reduce stress for your hips, back and knees… that’s all you should do to maintain healthy feet.

In fact, not many cowboy boots have heels that are more than 2.75 inches tall. So there is no need to worry that cowboy boots will adversely affect your knees. But you should be aware of what we said above.

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